Sometime ago I came across a beautiful quote that really made me think. It’s a quote by Greg Anderson, an American author. He said, “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
This is how not to die before you die. This is, in fact, is how to live.
There is a unique thing about life – something most people miss. Life isn’t something you wait for, it’s something you live in. It is not an event waiting to happen, no. Life is in every moment.
Let me explain.
When you get a job, most times you wait for the ‘end’ of the job. That point when you retire and become entitled to a pension; that moment when you consider yourself finally ‘free’. Free from the daily hustle and bustle, free from bosses blaring their voices at you, free from waking up by 5am everyday so you could beat traffic and be at the office by 8am.
When you go to school, you wait for the ‘end’ of the schooling. That moment when you are handed your certificate; that moment when you consider yourself finally ‘free’. Free from staying awake all night just so you could pass some paper, free from annoying lecturers and overbearing courses.
When you plant a seed, you wait for the ‘end’. That moment when it bears fruit; that moment you finally eat of your labour. That moment you consider yourself finally ‘free’ of your labour.
Life is not like that. Not really. Freedom is not something you find, it is something you create yourself. That was why Nelson Mandela was free though he was in prison. His freedom didn’t start the moment he walked out the prison, he was already free even before he became ‘free’.
You see, when you go to listen to someone perform poetry, the fun is not in the ‘end’, it’s in the experience. When you watch a dance, you don’t wait to see where the dancer would finally land. Because, while the dance is going on, you laugh, you cheer, you smile, you come alive. The fun is in the experience.
Same thing happens when you go to see a movie, an opera, or whatever makes your heart leap in excitement.
I still vividly remember the day I went to a cinema for the very first time. I was so excited. My excitement wasn’t because of the overhyped movie I was going to see. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know the movies that were to be shown that day. My excitement was simply in the experience of seeing the movie instead. I remember when I walked into the room. I took some time to admire the hall, and when my eye caught the screen, I marveled at the size.
What made that day memorable for me was not the time when the movie finally ended and the credits were being rolled out. No! It was the feeling of listening to people gasp, and laugh. The munching sounds coming from various popcorn-chewing mouths, the intensity of the sound from the speakers, the sheer beauty of the large screen, and the satisfaction of sitting down there and enjoying that beautiful moment.
That’s the point of life! It’s not in the end, it’s in the experience.
Sometimes, the joy of the farmer is not really the harvesting of the fruit, but the joy of watching that little seed grow into an enormous tree.
Take your time to really live this life. Savour the moments. Share your passion, and share your story. Don’t be in a hurry to finish that ice-cream, sometimes you need to savour the taste. Don’t be in a hurry to get home, sometimes take a walk, and notice the beauty in the surrounding.
Do what you love doing, and start doing it now. This life is one that runs so fast, one way to slow it down is to live each day knowing you’re doing what makes you come alive. Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
However, this is sometimes not easy as it sounds, but once one becomes intentional about living, everything else begins to fall in place.
Here are my top four things to inculcate regularly in your life to help you enjoy the journey more.
Travel is more than just what you do to escape life. It’s what you do so life doesn’t escape you. Travel opens your mind and stretches it to such beautiful lengths that it is impossible to return to its former state. You get to see how beautiful and amazing this our world is, that you’ll decide not to waste any more time feeling stuck, and more time exploring. Because, sometimes, once you begin to walk the earth’s path, you end up finding yours as well, and of course, it makes you richer. Click here to find out how travel makes you richer.
A closed mind is a closed destiny. Mahatma Gandhi once advised us to “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Learning must be a continuous aspect of your life, and when it comes to learning, it isn’t just about reading books, it’s about being curious. It’s about asking the important questions. It’s about observing your environment and noticing the little details. Indeed, learning is about the little details.
Once learning becomes a daily habit, life begins to have a deeper meaning. The journey becomes more pleasing, and less boring.
I love to say this, “Happiness is not some food you cook for someone else to eat, its aroma is for your soul and your soul alone.” Laugh often, even when you feel you don’t have a reason to laugh. Force yourself to laugh, slowly but surely, your soul will begin to daily find things to find pleasure in.
Not only is it healthy, but it’s therapeutic as well. A happy soul has little time focusing on the ills of the world and more time enjoying its many beauties and benefits.
I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing. – Dr. Madan Kataria
It is said that gratitude turns what we have into enough. It’s true. One cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time. Why? Because gratitude as Sonja Lyubomirsky rightly puts it, “Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented.”
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ― Melody Beattie
Don’t just focus on making a living, focus on living instead.
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2 thoughts on “How To Live Before You Die”
Don’t be in a hurry to get home, sometimes take a walk, and NOTICE the beauty in the surrounding….there’s sure beauty lurking somewhere around the corner.
Thank you Chukwuka for this beautiful piece. It’s a blessing ?
The pleasure is all mine. Keep marching on.